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New grants aim to build outdoor companies in NM

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Britt Runyon, top, the operations manager for New Wave Rafting Company, guides a raft through a rapid in the Taos Box in April. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE — The state’s new Outdoor Recreation Division has awarded $50,000 each to a pair of groups that will work with entrepreneurs to grow New Mexico’s outdoor economy.

The grants, officials said, are the first of their kind — part of an initiative to promote New Mexico’s mountains, rivers and trails.

In Farmington, the San Juan College Enterprise Center will use the money to help entrepreneurs with outdoor product manufacturing and building businesses that offer guide services, river rafting, cycling and other outdoor experiences.

Creative Startups, a nonprofit group that has worked with Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, will team up with libraries in rural areas to offer workshops, mentoring and other services to businesses, including startups focused on the outdoors.

“These grants are the first step to assist small business owners and communities with the tools they need to open up and grow outdoor recreation businesses,” Economic Development Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said in a written statement.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state legislators this year established a new Outdoor Recreation Division in the Economic Development Department. New Mexico is the fifth-largest state in the nation, by geographic area.

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